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Traitor's Blade

March 2014 Penguin

Traitor's Blade now available!

The King is dead, the Greatcoats have been disbanded, and Falcio Val Mond and his fellow magistrates Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as bodyguards for a nobleman who refuses to pay them. Things could be worse of course - their employer could be lying dead on the floor while the three of them are forced to watch as the killer plants evidence framing them for the murder. Oh wait, that’s exactly what’s happening…

Sebastien de Castell's fantasy novel "Traitor's Blade" comes out in March 2014 from Quercus (US & UK) and Penguin (Canada)

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Recent Acclaim For Traitor's Blade

"An all-round brilliant fantasy debut, and one of the best I’ve read in a decade."
Civilian Reader - February 14th, 2014

"Traitor's Blade is the first 'new' fantasy of 2014 that met and even exceeded my expectations and for the reasons above takes its place in my top 25 of the year to date. "
Fantasy Book Critic - February 24th, 2014

"I adored these characters. I cannot wait for the sequel."
The BiblioSanctum - February 19th, 2014

"Some books you can’t put down. This one won’t even let you try; it whirls you along in a wild dance of fights, treachery, and jaw-dropping surprises."
Dave Duncan, award-winning author of King of Swords

Goodreads Reviews

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Order the U.K. Version March 6, 2014

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Order the U.S. Version July 1, 2014

Random House
Amazon.com
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Available in German from Piper Verlag May 12, 2014

Piper Verlag
Amazon Germany

Traitor's Blade

Coming March 2014 Penguin

Traitor's Blade

The King is dead, the Greatcoats have been disbanded, and Falcio Val Mond and his fellow magistrates Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as bodyguards for a nobleman who refuses to pay them. Things could be worse of course - their employer could be lying dead on the floor while the three of them are forced to watch as the killer plants evidence framing them for the murder. Oh wait, that’s exactly what’s happening…

Sebastien de Castell's fantasy novel "Traitor's Blade" comes out in March 2014 from Quercus (US & UK) and Penguin (Canada)

Spellslinger

Kellen Argos is cursed with the Shadowblack and on the run from his own family when the mysterious young queen of Darome promises him a cure in exchange for his protection. Kellen soon discovers that someone inside the nobility is plotting to take over the country. Now he has to find a way to outsmart the conspirators before they get to the queen over Kellen's dead body.

Spellslinger is heroic fantasy with a western flavour

Spellslinger

In Progress
About Sebastien-image

About Sebastien

Sebastien de Castell writes novels about swashbuckling heroes and unconventional detectives who get their asses handed to them.

Find out more...

Blood Strands

A Thriller

About Sebastien

A background in sword choreography doomed Sebastien to write books about swashbuckling heroes who get their asses handed to them. Occasionally there's a talking raccoon with a propensity for blackmail and murder thrown in for good measure.

You can reach him at his first name @ decastell dot com.

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Current Project

Greatcoat's Lament, book 2 of the Greatcoats series is in copyedits.

Tyrant's Throne, book 3 of the series, is at 20,000 words of the first draft.

Find out more...

Greatcoat's Lament

The horrifying murder of a duke and his family sends Falcio val Mond, swordsman and First Cantor of the Greatcoats in a deadly pursuit to capture the killer. But Falcio soon discovers his own life is in mortal danger from a poison administered as a final act of revenge by one of his deadliest enemies. As chaos and civil war begin to overtake the country, Falcio has precious little time left to stop those determined to destroy his homeland.

Greatcoat's Lament is a dark swashbuckling tale of idealism and betrayal in a country crushed under the weight of its rulers' corruption. It is the second book in the Greatcoat's series that began with Traitor's Blade and will be published by Quercus (U.S. & U.K.), Penguin (Canada), and Piper (Germany).

Greatcoat's Lament

Early concept sketch

A Little More...

Sebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first dig. Four hours later he realized how much he actually hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor, and product strategist. His only defence against the charge of unbridled dilettantism is that he genuinely likes doing these things and that, in one way or another, each of these fields plays a role in his writing. He sternly resists the accusation of being a Renaissance Man in the hopes that more people will label him that way.

Sebastien lives in Vancouver, Canada with his lovely wife and two belligerent cats.

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The Long Search For Bard V

Remember back (way back) to before you could find anything you’d ever seen or heard on the Internet? You know, when you listened to a song on the radio and had to hunt high and low to find the album in a store? Or when you found a new series of books but couldn’t the third one in the series? I first read Keith Taylor’s book Bard when I was a teenager heading on an ill-advised solo camping trip (wearing a rather uncomfortable leather jacket and carrying a tent with holes in the roof and missing pegs.) A number of things went wrong on that trip that resulted in being cold, wet, tired, and huddling in the dark to avoid a group of drunk and stoned teenagers. But from the moment I started reading Bard all of that disappeared and I was transported into a world of music, magic, and swashbuckling. Tailor’s love and depth of knowledge about his subject was remarkable and the chronicles of Felimid Mac Fal soon became some of my favourite stories. So, happy ending to my camping trip, right? Not so fast…

Flash forward a few years and I’d found and read Bard II, III, and IV. It looked like the series was over and though I wasn’t happy about it, I could live with it. But the series wasn’t over–Keith Tailor had written a fifth book! Joy and jubilation! The only problem was that I soon discovered the book was only published in the United Kingdom. Okay, fine, now I have to order from the Brits. No problem – they like Canadians. Unfortunately, the book went out of print too quickly and no one had copies. I couldn’t find any North American library with a copy and it wasn’t feasible to borrow one from across the Atlantic.

The Internet is supposed to fix all these things, isn’t it? Everything accessible all the time? An endless cornucopia of delights waiting to be purchased by anyone with a credit card and a web browser. So I start searching and, sure enough, eventually I find someone’s dog-eared copy of the book available for purchase for only $125. That’s right, they wanted one-hundred-and-twenty-five dollars and shipping. Part of me wanted to buy it anyway, but the thought of rewarding someone’s needless greed (none of the money would have gone to the author) prevented me.

Of course, an obvious solution presented itself: who needs to actually buy and ship a physical book? I mean, that’s so 2010. These days it’s all about the e-book, right? Wrong. None of Keith Taylor’s books are available in digital editions. I actually wrote Mr. Taylor himself and he kindly checked to see if he had a copy around but alas, no luck there either.

A couple of weeks ago, the literary gods finally smiled on me and a copy appeared at a very reasonable of $15 USD plus shipping. The day I came back from my vacation it was right there waiting for me in a Trans-Atlantic shipping envelope. Finally, after all these years I’m reading Bard V and learning the final fate of Felimid Mac Fal. The funny thing is, after all these years, my tastes have changed and it’s not the type of book I’d buy anymore, but there’s something wonderful about searching for a lost book and one day finding it.

 

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The Writing Teacher I Never Met

Nothing matters until you’ve finished your first book. Anyone who gets you there is a hero.

The single most important tool I ever found for learning to write was a series of twelve double-sided tapes called “Let’s Write A Mystery” by a guy named Ralph McKinerny. His whole process was to tell you the basics while writing a book right alongside you on his tapes (all of which sounded like 1950′s science teacher lectures.) The book that Ralph writes during the process is included in the box with the tapes. To my tastes it’s maybe the shitiest book I’ve ever read. If he’d wanted to, he could have shown off the talents that helped him write dozens of successful novels. And yet, somehow, his willingness to write crap right there in front of you, all the while telling you to stop worrying about whether your stuff is good or not but just get your damned pages out, somehow that’s what helped me write my first novel and prove to myself that I could be a writer. Ralph McInerny was a theologian who wrote books I never bothered to read and who had largely opposite values to me (he once wrote a screed protesting Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame.) He died in 2010 and I never met him. He was the best writing teacher I ever had.

 

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Spellslinger: The Card Trick

A free short story set in the world of Spellslinger. It’s read by a nice fellow from the U.S. who does these things for a living.

Click on the image above to hear the story (it’s about 15 minutes long)

 

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Traitor's Blade

Traitor's Blade

A disgraced swordsman struggles to redeem himself and protect a young girl caught in the web of a royal conspiracy.

A fast-paced fantasy adventure that blends the swashbuckling action of The Three Musketeers with the intrigue of A Game of Thrones - coming in February 2014 by Quercus (U.S.A. & U.K) and Penguin (Canada)

Free Audio!

Short Spellslinger Story
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I'm Reading...

I'm finally reading Bard V: Felimid's Return by Keith Tailor. It took me nearly 20 years to find a copy!

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Non-Fiction...

I'm also reading Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass. Interested to get to his chapter on "The Elements of Awe".

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Fantasy Novels

Great fantasy novels give us a perspective on people and themes that bypass the baggage of our daily lives. They don't just transport us to other worlds--they help us re-enchant the one we live in. That's my goal.

Sebastien de Castell's fantasy novel "Traitor's Blade" comes out in February 2014 from Quercus (US & UK) and Penguin (Canada)

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